Eaton County Breaks Ground on New Jail

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It's the problem nearly every sheriff of every county in every jail in Michigan has, too many criminals and too few beds.

The Eaton County jail won't have it much longer.

A millage passed in November will pay for an expansion. 224 beds will become more than 360. They'll be new medical facilities and a new recreation yard. Taxpayers will actually pay less.

"We're paying 7/10th of a mill instead of one mill," Sheriff Mike Raines explains.

When the current jail was built in nearly 18 years ago, they put in extra doors for the expansion they knew they'd need. The new jail will be built with extra doors just like them.

A growing population has meant rising crime for Eaton County. What's more, questions about prison closures at the state level may mean the county jails take on a heavier burden.

"It's not necessarily what drove this," jail administrator Captain Don Ulrey says, "but it's good to be ahead of the power curve if that should come down the pike."

Eaton County's planned to make this millage last the twenty years it's been allotted.

"But at some point it probably won't be enough," Ulrey says.

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